Everything is clear in this group about the winner- it’s Croatia, while this game will decide who will finish at the 2nd place. it’s strange because in case of a draw in Wales and Slovakia win against Azerbaijan, even the Slovakians can finish 2nd, which I am not so sure will be deserved. Personally for me, Wales is in the best position for the 2nd place, because they play at home against a direct opponent for the 2nd position in the group and they can rely on their best players, especially the main attacking force.
Ireland had a perfect chance and do something more in October, maybe even seal the qualifying process but the team completely disappointed their fans not being able to score a single goal in two matches.
First, it was a goalless game away to Georgia, where they simply didn’t create enough and were unable to up the tempo.
The second match was away to Switzerland and they were deservedly defeated 2:0 against simply far more fluid side overall.
Comparing to previous matches, the Irish team will miss goalkeeper Westwood (21/0, Sheffield Wednesday), defenders Christie (24/2, Fulham), Williams (3/1, Blackburn(, midfielder McCarthy (40/0, Crystal Palace) and forward Long (82/17, Southampton).
Croatia started their campaign with a loss on the road to Hungary and worried their fans a bit, however more or less, there’s very little to complain about their performances.
Sure, they could have been more concrete in matches against Azerbaijan as they also made a setback away in Baku, but two rounds before the end they are keeping everything in their hands.
They just need to get the victory here and no matter of the other outcomes, they will end up as the first in the group.
Even with a point taken, they are progressing to Euro since they would have better h2h matches against all three opponents in question.
Midfielder Rakitic (106/15, Barcelona) is injured fro this one, while offensive Kramaric (46/13, Hoffenheim) remains sidelined with an injury. Defender Mitrovic (12/2, Club Brugge won’t play either due to injury, while suspended are defenders Lovren (57/3, Liverpool) and Vida (79/4, Besiktas).
After improvement and morale-boosting matches and performances against Italy and Bosnia & Herzegovina back in September, Armenia completely disappointed in their October’s clashes taking just a point away to Licehstein at first.
That setback made their match away to Finland being a must-win situation, but neither it was realistic to expect, neither the Finnish let them think about it for a long time.
Even without a fight for the second position, the qualifications itself were decently positive for the Armenians. Armenia has just theoretical chances of reaching the EURO, as they need two victories but also Finland to make unimaginable setback at home against Liechtenstein.
Bristol Rovers finally got back on the right track with a 1:2 win on the road to Rochdale in the seventeenth round of League One.
They made a strong entrance into the match scoring two goals within the first eleven minutes, to secure the first three-pointer after just one point earned in the previous three rounds.
The side now stands just behind the playoff zone having a point less than sixth-placed Coventry.
They had a 1:1 game against Bromley in the FA Cup competition on Sunday night, using a rotated squad but didn’t manage to meet the expectations being a favorite before the start of the game.
They took a late lead via Leahy in the 76th minute but got leveled up just five minutes later.
Walsall comes into this match after a really ugly run in League Two, as the team has six consecutive defeats.
Most recently it was a narrow 2:1 loss away to Swindon back then quite expected as the home team challenges for the promotion. The players of Walsall are now just two points above the rock bottom-placed Morecambe.
They had a 2:2 game against Darlington in the FA Cup last Saturday afternoon, not being able to get the momentum into their favor despite being a huge favorite in this one against a National League North side.
In one of the most interesting matches of the previous round, players of AEL Larissa managed to get a 3:2 home victory against OFI Crete.
It was an important and morale-boosting victory for them, even though they stood two goals back in the scoreline already from the fourth minute.
The team has also shown great fighting spirit and morale coming back from such a situation, as the reversal of the result started already in the fourteenth minute thanks to a goal from Moras.
Milosavljevic and Dauda scored in the last twenty-five minutes of the game for a comeback, as the guests were the only ones to be blamed for such a result.
AEL is now just inside the playoff zone before the start of this round and needs a victory to remain there and improve the chances of ending up within the top six clubs.
Montpellier didn’t appear in the best possible way at first away to Metz, since the team was losing with two goals down till the last twenty minutes of the match, but was awarded for the fighting spirit and reached a point in a 2:2 game in the end.
Very little was done in attack from them till the last phase of the match, but they still managed to improve when needed and react in the best possible way getting a point via goals from Delort and Sambia within six minutes.
They even looked a bit more concrete even when having the lead, risking for more and trying for a three-pointer.
Chelsea found a way to respond properly after their exclusion in the EFL Cup game at home against Manchester United, as the Blues won over Watford on the road last weekend 1:2.
The victory was fully convincing, probably deserved more than just two goals scored, as they opened the clash in the best possible way – with a goal from Abraham in the fifth minute and it was easier for them to play since then, adding the second via Pulisic at the start of the second.
All the home side managed was to reduce via a penalty kick in the 80th minute. The Blues now have five consecutive victories in Premiership, being currently at the third position together with Leicester with just two points behind second-placed Manchester City.
After an unexpected defeat at home against Levante, players of Real Sociedad have responded in the best possible way with a 1:2 victory away to Granada last Sunday night.
The guests have taken the lead in the 21st minute via Portu and didn’t switch back to a conservative and passive role. On the contrary, the game remains open one in the first halftime even when the home side leveled up the result.
Sociedad remained to be slightly better in the second and threatened a couple of times, managing to finally get the deserved victory via the second goal from Portu in the 89th minute.
They are now tied up with Real Madrid and Barcelona in the first position and surely want a victory here to avoid a second consecutive setback in home matches.